When I was 18 years old, I had sex with a girl, Dianne, that hung out with my group of friends. She was extremely nice and cute. About two months later, she went away to college which was not a big surprise because a lot of us were going to college. Around March or April, I heard rumors that she gave birth to a daughter but she never said who the father was. Being young, stupid and selfish at that time, it never occur to me that I should questioned if the baby was mine (about 9 months we had sex is when she gave birth). I just assumed that if there was a chance of me being the father, she would have told me ASAP.
The other day, I got a package in the mail from Dianne of pictures and a letter explaining that their is an extremely high chance that I am the girl’s father and asked if I would want to take paternity test. Dianne said she does not expect any child support, but her daughter, Stephanie, is just curious who her father is. Stephanie appears to be around 15 years old. I am going to take the paternity test. If I am the father, what would the next steps should I take? I am more than willing to pay child support and stepping up to the plate. Also, if I am the father, how should I break the news to my parents, brother and sister that I have a daughter?
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A female reader, Honeypie + ♥, writes (23 September 2018):
Honestly? I’d contact a lawyer first.Because in some states you will be ordered to pay back-dated child-support – which COULD be as high as $100,000 or as low as $30,000. Which… CAN totally mess up YOUR credit.Now that is just the financial and legal side.She CAN say, Oh I don’t want money… but if she gets medicare and ANY kind of public welfare, it’s NOT for her to decide. The STATE will do that.So I’d SUGGEST you talk to a lawyer first.SHE made the choice to NOT tell you for 15 years. THAT was her choice. And while I think it is decent and noble that you WANT to pay child support I find that fathers get screwed over even in situations where they didn’t even KNOW that a child existed!SO, know your rights OPAs for doing the DNA, AFTER you have talked with a lawyer, I would do it. The kid has a right to know who her father is. Once you got the DNA results THEN you can tell you family.As for getting to know her. GO slow. ASK her to set the tempo. And WAIT until the DNA results are in. Don’t try and make up for the lost time, financially. THAT is on her mom. Spend TIME with her. THAT is far more important. If she is in high school (I presume) she might be in choir,theater,arts, sports, cheer, then ask if you can come see her perform.And if the girl is interested.. introduce her to you family. I think most families would love to welcome a relative they didn’t know.It all hinges on two things. LAWYER and DNA test. DO those FIRST then think ahead.
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A male reader, N91 + ♥, writes (23 September 2018):
You sound like you have your head in the right place anyways regarding the question. All you need to do, providing you’re the father, is be there for your daughter. Give her whatever help and guidance she needs. It’s good to hear that you’re willing to step up as some people may find the situation daunting and look for a way out. As for telling your family, all you can do is tell them you’ve had some news out of the blue and you’re as shocked as they are and then give it a little time before any introductions. Get to know her first yourself rather than making her jump in at the deep end and meeting a lot of people at once. First thing though is Make sure you’re the father! Don’t get your hopes up or mention it to anyone unless you have proof that you are the dad. Best wishes for the future
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A female reader, Youcannotbeserious + ♥, writes (23 September 2018):
An “extremely high chance” means that there is possibly someone else (or others?) in the running too, so you may yet turn out NOT to be the father of this teenage girl. I say this because you sound quite eager to “step up”, which is commendable but could leave you feeling disappointed if it turns out she is NOT your daughter. If it turns out that you did father her, then I would suggest the best way forward would be to speak to her mother and find out what your daughter is expecting from you. Is she just curious to meet you and, once her curiosity has been satisfied, will be content not to have too much contact with you, or is she expecting/wanting to build a relationship with you? Remember, she is at that age where she is, more than likely, arguing with her mum a lot (typical teenage situation) and is reaching out to her other parent. The situation could turn tricky. Take things slowly if she wants to build a relationship. Don’t shower her with gifts to try to make up for 15 years when you were not around. She will be far more grateful for your time and attention than your money. As for telling your family, you are an ADULT. Tell it as it is. You were young. You carelessly fathered a child you knew nothing about. You have now made contact with your daughter and you hope they will accept her into the family. Good luck. You sound like a decent guy. I hope all goes well for you.
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